Apple Pecan Salad
I often get inspiration for recipes while eating out and a trip to Wendy’s craving a juicy hamburger resulted in me ordering their apple, bacon, pecan salad instead because it sounded amazing! This salad is similar, but it’s way better, paired with a light balsamic that adds the perfect sweetness. Add grilled chicken to the salad for a filling lunch or dinner, or leave the chicken out and serve the salad as a side or appetizer!
Tips For Making a Healthy Salad:
- Choose the right Greens. The type of lettuce in your salad really matters. If you want to pack in the nutrients, make sure you’re eating dark greens like spinach or arugula instead of a more water based lettuce, like iceberg or romaine.
- Fried or grilled? If you have protein on your salad, opt for grilled instead of fried and you’ll save big on added fats without sacrificing the protein.
- Dressing is key! Any salad can be made “unhealthy” by covering it in a high fat or high sugar dressing. For healthier (and lower calorie) salad dressings, look for oil or vinegar based dressings, like vinaigrettes, rather than creamy dressings, like ranch, caesar and blue cheese.
How to Make Healthy Balsamic Dressing:
- Combine garlic, dijon, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and salt and pepper in a bowl.
- Whisk dressing ingredients together.
- Serve or store. Store excess dressing in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
How to Keep Salad Fresh:
- Store separately. For the freshest salad, store the ingredients separately and toss them just before eating. You can also store everything together except for the dressing to help your salad keep for an extra day or two.
- Use paper towels. If you have washed your lettuce or have fruits or fresh vegetable in your salad, you can place a paper towel at the bottom of your bag or bowl to help absorb the extra moisture in the salad. This will help your lettuce stay fresh and crisp.
Check our all my salad recipes! Some of my favorites include:
Apple Pecan Salad
For the Salad:
- 2 heads Lettuce , chopped (I like to use a mixture of red leaf, spring mix, and spinach)
- 1-2 Fuji apples , washed and diced
- 5 slices bacon , cooked and crumbled
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1 pound cooked chicken , chopped
For the Light Balsamic Dressing:
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
- Toss lettuce, apples, bacon, pecans, and chicken in a large bowl.
- Whisk dressing ingredients together and pour over salad. Toss to combine. Enjoy!
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*Nutritional facts do not include dressing.
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I originally shared this recipe October 2013. Updated October 2019.